INFUSING TRADITIONAL MOTIFS IN CONTEMPORARY FABRIC

Colombo Fashion Week l Day 1

Traditional motifs in fabric and cultural representations in design, colours and layers symbolizing a nation’s perspective and social injustices; the 25th of March, 2021 launched Colombo Fashion Week’s 18th Season as it began its course with the Emerging Designer Showcase. Expressing each of the designers’ unique concepts and ideologies from the Sri Lankan landscape to the societal constructs, the showcase follows eleven collections while focusing on the notion of sustainability. CFW’s thematic significance on Circularity this season continues its progression of the Responsible and sustainable initiatives with the Responsibility Meter from last year where each sustainable motive was accounted for through scores.  

This season, eleven emerging designers chosen through the CFW Design Development programme have aptly incorporated responsible initiatives while bringing intriguing perspectives and narratives in their design stories. Each designer mentored by the CFW Mentorship panel, was exposed to the intricacies of the fashion ecosystem, refining their skills and establishing their identity. Daily ARTRA picked six emerging designers of creative concepts and artistically executed designs, 

Akash Paranavitharana 

The focal point of Akash Paranavitharana's collection concentrates on the idea of Japanese streetwear and these motifs are infused in his designs. Each cut and pattern are strategically aligned to signify the Japanese concept and his collection reflects these ideologies gracefully yet potently. Akash's passion for abstract concepts is evident as he takes something that is not visible to the naked eye and creating it into something you can see. His designs concentrate on zero waste and upcycled patterns in garments and use unconventional materials transforming them into something wearable. Akash also focuses on making jewellery and accessories to enhance and bring variety to his collection. The accessories incorporated into his collection accentuate the nuanced perspective of his concept through exudeing identity and character, amplifying the significance behind the meaning.

Divya Jayawickrama 

‘Play For Me’ by designer Divya Jayawickrama were alternate interpretations of the concept of playing cards and the ways in which they could be perceived. From forms and silhouettes of formal wear and traditional block prints, Divya’s collection presented whimsical yet acute ideals. Divya Jayawickrama graduated with a B.A. Fashion Design from the University College of Ratmalana in 2019. Her graduation collection was awarded the Best Menswear Collection of the Year at her graduation fashion show. Radical pattern-making, textile development, bold manipulations and meticulous research go hand in hand with her ambition and will to create something new and modern. Divya designs with sustainability in mind and uses no waste, reversible and convertible techniques in her collections. 

Kavishna Kuruwitage 

Facilitated through the conventional craft of batik ‘Skeletal Dimensions’ spins its concept to embody the skeletal silhouettes of insects. Using vivid colours and strategic cuts, patterns, and unique prints, Kavishna presents a beauteous representations of the delicate beings. Kavishna Kuruwitage studied at Lyceum International School (Wattala) and is currently interning at MAS Katunayake as a fashion designer. She started off her designing journey through AOD. Kavishna began work on her brand while studying for her BA (Hons) in Fashion and Textile Design. Her brand represents her personality and who she strives to be as a person. Falling in love with batik, one of the most beautiful crafts that Sri Lankan tradition holds has paved a way for her to create intricate details and explore and experiment new ways to create various textiles. 

Chamanka Pehesara 

As his first time showcasing as an Emerging Designer at Colombo Fashion Week, Chamanka’s designs were creative in their presentation; deriving inspiration from animals in the wild and powerful forces of nature, from print, cut and colour, Chamanka’s collection exuded poise and sophistication. A second-year undergraduate fashion design student, Chamanka Pehesara is a new face in the fashion industry. Chamanka has a keen interest in fabric manipulation and sustainable processes. For his debut at CFW, he has fused natural fabrics, dyes and printing techniques to create a collection inspired by the cracks that occur during volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Chamanka has also used layers of raw cotton fabric to create a minimalist aesthetic in line with his brand’s vision. 

Nipunika Fernando 

A collection of diverse from Nipunika Fernando showed her aptitude for a nuanced vision and perspective in creating a series of traditional motifs moulded and redesigned to a present a modern and contemporary finesse. Evidently, the only collection that showcased masks contributed to the aesthetic of living in the cotemporary times whiles fusing conventional practices. Nipunika Fernando is a Fashion and Costume Designer, creating garments for casual, event, costume and avant-garde wear. Her designs focus on sustainability and Sri Lankan design elements. She believes a person’s style is an expression of themselves and considers this when creating custom pieces for clients, ensuring that each client receives beautifully made, personalised garments that they can treasure for years to come. Nipunika views clothing as a method of storytelling, as people make conscious decisions about what they wear depending on their mood, personal style, and environment. She received her Bachelor of Design from LCI Melbourne in 2019, majoring in Fashion and Costume and minoring in Graphic Design, for which she also received the Dean’s Award of High Distinction. Nipunika Fernando has showcased her designs in two runways for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, for the years 2018 and 2019. She has also worked in wardrobe and costume design for theatre and continues to create costumes for short films. 

Navindri Ranatunga 

Celebrating Sri Lanka and its heritage, art and culture, Navindri’s designs creatively capture the essence of a nation through a clever use of her colour palette while infusing Sri Lankan crafts from traditional batik prints to artistic forms. Beautifully structured frills and pleats, deriving from the conventional inherent clothing, her designs encapsulate an identity. Navindri Ranatunga graduated with a degree in Fashion and Textile Design from the Academy of Design, Colombo (affiliated with the Northumbria University) in 2019. Her brand Navyāti is an attempt to capture relatively overlooked aspects of ancient Sri Lankan art, culture and folk heritage, while integrating these elements with contemporary textile design. Motifs, imagery and forms from ancient Sri Lanka are juxtaposed with modern design through silhouettes, print and color. The brand aims to bridge the gap between ancient and modern design while hoping to be both accessible and intriguing for contemporary customers with its unique textile development, involving hand painted motifs transferred onto digital prints and layered with touches of various western embroidery techniques. 

1st April, 2021 Applied Art

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